Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. Lou ReedBerlin

I don’t know what concept it was. Whatever the concept was that came out of his addled mind, to me, he’s just got a cob-on with someone and she’s probably shagging around, and obviously he’s set it in Berlin, where he’d probably never have been, and just gets stuck into the misery of it. I remember in an interview with Nick Kent in the NME Lou slagged it off and then changed his mind and said it was absolutely brilliant. At the time everything I played was always in the dark – and I’d tell my mum not to come out of the living room door, and I’d be upstairs and I could sense the light coming from downstairs and it would spoil my vibe. Playing that was just, “woah.” ‘Caroline Says II’, is like, “jeez…” – turning the tables on old Caroline, in a nasty way. I just loved the production. The atmosphere was so dense and the concept is just that the songs ran into each other and this gave it a sense of order. What he was singing about made me think, “hang on, am I really being allowed into this?” It was a bit weird. It’s like a psychopath’s night in, and it got me. Whenever I play that, it’s got a very German, emotive feel. And any emotional German, it’s going to be heavy emotions, bad ones. They’re not renowned for their joie de vivre. Obviously Hitler had emotions, but fuckin’ hell… So it does capture that weird European coldness. It’s weird because you don’t know if Lou really cares, he’s not exactly Sinatra or Lanza, you don’t know if he’s taking the piss. He probably thinks halfway through a song, this isn’t any good, I better sing it weirdly. “She looked like Mary Queen of Scots seemed very regal to me, just shows how wrong you can be". Pure Lou Reed that was. I couldn’t do that because I don’t do sinister. That’s someone who has a different kind of relationship – it’s not just sad, it’s weird. Big favourite with Jimmy Savile at the time, I heard.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: , Lydia Lunch, Bat for Lashes
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